Sunday, October 30, 2011

Frankfurt Marathon - Kipsang falls 4 secs short of WR!

First read this, and then see this

Just what will the Kenyans do at NYC and more importantly what will they do at the Olympics?!

Too bad to see that at least 1 of the guys who has run faster than the previous WR will perhaps miss out on a spot.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What Happy Diwali?!

Years ago, when I was in class 8, my class teacher who was also the school Interact Club coordinator took our school Interact club members to a facility which housed an orphanage and an old age home. The kids were given sweets and crackers like all other kids and some of my schoolmates spent time playing with the kids helping them burst crackers. Some of us, went to the old age home. The old people there had very simple expectations. On that Diwali, all they wanted was someone to read to them, spend time talking to them. That was a life-altering experience for me. I had given up on crackers voluntarily in class 7 opting to take money instead from my parents. But in class 8, it dawned on my not-so-old head that there were people in this world who didn’t have such a happy Diwali at all.

And not so long ago, I actually sniggered at someone who had voiced concern over crackers affecting dogs. I thought of that person as the animal equivalent of a tree-hugger. I mean, not just an animal lover but someone who would get in your way if it meant that that animal could be less affected. I have three dogs inside my house gate right now, sitting in my porch scared to shit by the noise of crackers around my place. Of course they are sitting there since they have figured out ours is the only house on the street which doesn’t burst crackers.

There is no moral high ground here. But it does pain me immensely to see a dog cower helplessly with every single sound from a cracker. It also pains me occasionally to see someone helpless when I am in a state of comfort.

So when you wish someone Happy Diwali today, think of the less fortunate and the creatures around you without a voice. Make a difference to their lives too.

Be grateful for what you have today.

And for all those friends who are not here today, god bless your souls. I miss you and wish you were here

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Even More Books

A generous Blossoms coupon from the KQA for a quiz last weekend allowed me to buy

Footsteps by Richard Holmes

The book subtitled "Adventures of a Romantic Biographer" is about the author's retracing of RL Stevenson's journey thru the Cevennes, Mary Wollstonecraft's being marooned in Paris as well as the author's stalking of Shelley & his band of Romantic idealists.

And then y'day's mildly disappointing performance at the Landmark finals in Hyderabad, yielded some Landmark currency which allowed me to dig thru the sale yet another time. Today's spoils were

The Man who loved books too much by Allison Hoover Bartlett (true story of thief, a detective & a world of literary obsession)
The Prometheans by Max Adams (John Martin and the generation that stole the future)
Not so funny when it happened edited by Tim Cahill (travel humour & misadventure incl. pieces by Bill Bryson, Dave Barry, Douglas Adams, Anne Lamott, etc)

Now I have run out of space on even my tables and the floor of my room. Need some generous grant from some bookshelf maker to accommodate all the books.
But each of the above books promises a different kind of fun. Hurrah for quizzing

more books from Landmark sale

Was in Hyd for the weekend and ended up picking
Everyman by Philip Roth
Animal's People by Indra Sinha
The Perfectly Useless book of Useless Information by Don Voorhees

for Rs. 49 each. I don't buy books like the last one usually but on seeing the 1st page which had an entry for the name of the ice hockey team of the Rhode Island School of Design (Nads) & its cheer (Go Nads!), decided it was worth the amusement

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fauja - excited at 100

So someone must have said "Sau saal jiyo" to him sometime earlier in his life. See what happened. Funny that he should describe the feeling like getting married all over again!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Laughing Without an Accent by Firoozeh Dumas

If Funny in Farsi was laugh out loud funny, the 2nd book by Firoozeh Dumas (FD) shows that her first book was not a fluke. My parents thought that something was definitely amiss when I was laughing out loud at 11 in the night, alone, well past my sleeping time (I am an early sleeper and early riser).

The book introduces us to the extended universe of FD and shows us she has a limitless supply of funny anecdotes laced with self deprecation and an incredible memory (or imagination or both!). The one difference in this book with respect to her first book is that it does have some serious elements as well - be it her concern over the world her children are growing up in or her endeavour to remedy the perception of Iran and Iranians in the US. Iran couldn’t have found a better ambassador in the US.

Like most good things, one feels miserable when the book ends. As someone who had the outrageously good fortune of meeting her, I happen to know her next book is not in this genre. But I still can’t wait to read it. Now if someone could only figure out a cheaper option for her books in India, I could spread her gospel in India.

I strongly urge every one of you to read this book (especially the penultimate chapter called “Pomp it Up” which is written with so much love and empathy) and her first book.



Sunday, October 09, 2011

Chicago Marathon 2011

Moses Mosop wins in a somewhat tame timing (by his own standards) although he did set a CR.
Kenya goes 1-2-3.

Pity the women's race doesn't have even 1 Kenyan in top 10

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Landmark Sale - part deux

As planned, went again to the Landmark sale today and true to their advertisement, they had fresh stock. Picked the following
The Lives of a cell by Lewis Thomas (upon Ramesh's tip. Ramesh is a fine tipster as well as a fine tipper and in his words Lewis Thomas is like Jay Gould, only better)
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively - thereby enriching my Booker collection
Brainiac by Ken Jennings (the trivia giant who famously occupied a seat on Jeopardy)
Mrs. Dalloway by Virgina Woolf - seen way too many references to the book to not pick it up & read it finally

Also stole my pal Prateek's A Chapter of Hats and other stories by Machado De Assis (which has Salman Rushdie raving about it on the cover). Prateek doesn't know this yet as I conned him into a fraudulent "buy and leaseback" scheme wherein he bought a book at my behest and lent it to me ;) Now it shall not go back to him....

As always, my thrill is mostly due to the fact that I spent only Rs. 51 on the first 4 books and none on the stolen one, thanks to credit card points :)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Steve Jobs RIP

As someone whose life and work was an inspiration to millions and who changed 3 industries (computer, mobile phones and publishing) as we know it, Steve will be missed.

He was only 56.

If you remember his Stanford speech, he talks about believing in something even if it is karma.

Well Steve, you definitely made enough people happy. You should be in heaven.

God bless your soul.